People do not relate to Real Estate Marketing some years back, except advertisements on newspaper or magazine once in a while. But in the last few years real estate has become one of highest spends sector with handsome marketing budgets; taking over print, out of home and digital space, especially in the tier 1 cities.
Though the power of digital marketing have not gone unnoticed by real estate developers and marketing experts in the recent times and they have also been utilizing the digital space to market real estate projects, but real estate developers have historically relied more on traditional media – print and outdoor being the preferred forms. The main medium of real estate marketing were full page newspaper adverts and numerous hoardings, along with small duration of radio ads.
However, things are different now and with the onset of Covid, digital media has now become the main medium of real estate marketers. Newspapers and magazines are having limited circulations currently, and as people confined to their homes the reach outdoor media is not what it was. On the other hand digital media’s reach has increased heavily. With people spending more time at home and are not working in office environment and are not travelling, they are spending more time online. Therefore with digital advertising getting more and more sophisticated and targeted towards potential home buyers, developers are now pivoting their marketing strategies towards digital platforms.
Social media has completely taken over when it comes to real estate marketing. Real Estate Developers generate huge volume of leads through lead generation campaign on social media, Facebook being on the top. From advertising on social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and even LinkedIn to communicating with customers and sending project details through WhatsApp, the ways in which businesses are communicating with their customers have fundamentally changed. Real Estate Developers today announce project launches through the company’s Facebook page and hold channel partner meets over video conferencing facilities like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. Apart from WhatsApp and other social media platform, SMS and emailer are also a key medium which many developers uses as it is very cost effective to reach wide user base. The SMS content generally comprises of a Call to Action numbers, wherein with just one tap the potential customers lands up calling sales manager or pre sales team of the developer whose role is to warm the lead.
Apart from project details and call to action numbers, SMS and emailer also consists of website link, project’s social media page, etc.; upon clicking on which users get engaged digitally, either through the developer’s website or social media page, or sometimes through an interactive ‘Chat Bot’ which answers questions in a manner similar to a human sales representative. Since physical site visits are currently limited, developers use rendered ‘virtual tours’ of their developments and sample apartments. These are being send to a prospective customer on her smartphone either over WhatsApp or through SMS. Many developers also gauge for how long an individual engage on the virtual tour of the project by sending smart URL which has the capacity to tracks users activity.
Apart from SMS, emailer, and social media platforms, the most important platform to generate leads is Google Search. As people are stuck at home, the main mode of information comes through google search from their smartphone or laptop. Therefore, Search Ads and SEO both are extremely important to generate good quality leads as people comes on google for information and extensive research when they are already considering buying a property. Digital media is extremely cost effective when compared with other traditional media and the sophisticated targeting, real time analytics, and optimization they allow have resulted in a strong and sustained shift towards them. And this shift is here to stay.
Therefore, developers are recognizing these changing consumer preferences and most of them have already been innovated in the way they interact with their customers. The more digitized and interconnected the world becomes, the more important it gets for developers to engage with and respond to their customers and their needs. The covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the rate of this change and developers are shifting towards digital media heavily to market their projects. Unlike other medium where there is limited space to advertise, digital media allows all advertisers to market themselves, therefore since the pandemic has started digital media has become a very competitive space as almost all leading developers are bombarding the platform with their ads. Therefore, to stand above the competitors it is very important for developers to reach out and engage with the right target group, strategically make use of the tech innovation which digital media allows, analyze and optimize campaigns real time and ensure maximum return on investments.